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10 Decorating Mistakes That Make Your House Look Smaller

(Article courtesy - By Debra Immergut)

The current trend toward smaller houses is a terrific development--it’s practical, thrifty, and good for the planet. But, outfitting a scaled-down home, one needs to plan carefully--a few wrong decorating moves, and the walls may feel like they’re closing in. For a pad that feels as spacious as it is stylish, avoid these common missteps.

Too Much Furniture

Built-ins are the way to go in a small home – think about storage seats built to serve as a dining bench, shelving at the end of the hallway, or a custom storage wall in the living room. The fewer pieces of furniture you have cluttering your rooms, the more spacious your place will feel.

Related: 10 Ways to Live Large in a Very Small Space

Too Much Color

Forget rules that say that you should only use neutrals in a small space. The key to using bright hues is sticking to just one per room, and using them in small amounts. An accent wall or bright bedding can add a great pop of energy without overwhelming a tiny space.

Too Much Clutter

When you’re living small, you need to be ruthless about keeping it simple. To keep your home from feeling claustrophobic, pare down your collections to a few pieces you adore, invest in attractive storage pieces to hide your unsightly essentials (think: kitchen tools and toiletries), and train yourself and your family to pick up and put away toys, books, and other doodads after use.

Heavy Curtains

Let the sun shine in! If your home is short on square footage, welcome in the outdoors by using the most light-giving—and transparent—window coverings possible, while still allowing for privacy. Or, if your neighbors aren’t too close, use no coverings at all.

Dim Lighting

Again, in a tight space, light is your friend. Augment overhead lights with sconces (which take up no floor space) hung at eye-level or some simple, slender floor or table lamps. Creating soft pools of light will help make the walls recede.

Chopped-Up Floors

When thinking about what should be underfoot, try to keep it as streamlined as possible. Your best option: Choose area rugs that match the flooring as closely as possible, and avoid lots of tiny scatter rugs – opt for a few bigger ones instead.

Ponderous Furniture

We love hand-me-downs, but trying to cram in Grandma’s entire dining-room set, including the big brown china cupboard and the heavy buffet, is only going to make your place seem tiny and gloomy. It’s fine to mix in some special pieces, but for most part, furnishings should be scaled for your space and light on their feet (you should be able to see the floor under the sofa, for example).

Busy Wall Decor

If your house is lilliputian, edit your art and photo collection with a strict eye. Choose one or two bold items per room, and avoid those multi-frame “gallery walls,” which really need plenty of space to breathe.

Overstuffed Entryway

To make your house look bigger, it’s important to stay organized, especially in the entryway, where first impressions are made. Whenever possible, opt for closed storage—use a basket for shoes, rather than shelves, and stash coats in a closet or slim wardrobe instead of on hooks.

Too Much Pattern

You might be tempted to match wallpaper to fabric to carpet in your tiny house—but too much of the same pattern in a small space can be crazy-making. Instead, use mostly solids with a few patterns thrown in for fun—and remember to keep the color palette limited.

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